Portraitfoto der Paartherapeutin Julia Bellabarba

I have been helping families and couples in my role as a therapist for over 25 years. Most of my clients are in intercultural relationships.

Skills and experience

Subsequent to my studies of philosophy, ethnology and psychology at the Free University Berlin and the University of London, I have been working as a licensed psychologist in Berlin since 1990. I have been working as a couples therapist for over 25 years.

I completed my training as a systemic couples and family therapist at internationally renowned institutions:

  • The Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London (one year, full-time)
  • The Helm Stierlin Institut, Heidelberg (150 hours) , with Dr Carmen Beilfuß and Dr Hans Jellouschek
  • The International Association for Systemic Therapy Heidelberg (100 hours), with Professor Ulrich Clement and Dr Angelika Eck

I am a lecturer at Medical School Berlin (https://www.medicalschool-berlin.de/) – a private university where I teach a course on “Couple and Sex Therapy” to Master students in Clinical Psychology.

My professional expertise is perfectly complemented with a good measure of personal life, relationship and family experience. During your therapy, I offer support without judgement, helping couples to value what they already have, and support both partners with sensitivity, personal integrity, and humour.

Professionalism in relationship counselling means that your therapy is based on an agreed framework, working through the precise concerns you have highlighted. Professional training and continued professional development is also important, as this is what allows me to spot the general patterns within the specifics, and use these insights to help my clients.

High-quality couples therapy by a trained professional

Couples therapy is a highly sophisticated form of therapy. And yet the term “couples therapy” and related expressions are not protected by law. Unfortunately, this means that the terms “couples therapist”, “relationship counsellor”, or “couples counsellor” can be used by anyone, even if they lack the relevant experience, training, and skills. You and your partner deserve someone with the right training and individual capabilities to provide professional support for both you and your relationship.  If you’re looking for advise on how to find a qualified couples therapist you might find this helpful (in German): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuqeO5mFWMc

Quality management plays an important role in my work. This is also an area where I have dedicated myself to passing my knowledge on to other doctors and psychologists. I teach courses and seminars on this subject for the Society for Systemic Therapy and Consulting (GST), as well as the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians for Lower Saxony (KVN) and Saxony Anhalt (KVSA).

Exchanges with experienced colleagues in the form of supervision and intervision are very important to me. Regular reflection on my work provides me with professional support and personal enrichment, while also allowing me to correct any of my own blind spots or deficits. My supervisors are Berit Brockhausen in Berlin (http://www.partnerschaftsberatung.de), Prof. Ulrich Clement in Heidelberg (http://www.ulclement.de), PD Dr. Arnold Retzer in Heidelberg (http://www.arnretzer.de) and Esther Perel in New York (https://www.estherperel.com).

Learn more about the methods involved in systemic couples therapy here and take a closer look at my couples therapy practice in Berlin-Mitte.

“Couples therapy can become a rite of passage. The only requirement is to get somewhere where you currently are not. But you cannot do anything else, anyway: Indeed, you can only go where you are not already. Perhaps we can go a little of this way together.”

Arnold Retzer, Passagen – Systemische Erkundungen (2002)